PUPs – Cute name, disastrous results

You may never have heard of PUPs in relation to computers. PUP stands for Potentially Unwanted Program, and is considered a form of malware. While they are not quite the same thing as standard viruses, they’re still not a good thing and as always, once one baddie gets in the door, they often weaken it for more “friends” later. This is not a good thing. PUPs are those programs that scoot in almost completely unannounced through downloads, usually as software bundles. Once installed, they will usually start harassing users pretty aggressively about one thing or another: your memory is low, you have outdated drivers that need to be fixed immediately, your system is insecure, etc. etc. (and as you might have guessed, these are all false and they want money to “fix” said problems). They may also start hijacking your browser to give you funny search engines, ads galore, and redirect you to websites you didn’t ask for. Sadly, even Macs are no longer immune from this problem. PUPs can be hard to catch before the fact, and even harder to remove after the fact, so I have a couple of recommendations to keep these things off your system. My number one recommendation is to use Chrome with Adblock exclusively (here’s why I recommend Chrome over other browsers!). This particular combination will fend off a lot of unwanted drive-by installs. After that, I recommend fine-tuning your antivirus to actively look for PUPs in its sensitivity settings. Finally, I highly recommend installing a little program called Unchecky. This small program runs in the background, making sure that nothing tries to slip in when you’re installing something downloaded from the internet. It does a great job, and it’s free! If you think you might already have some of these pests on your system, give us a call and we can get everything all cleaned up for you.